The killing of Charles Hale requires not only cunning and cleverness on the part of Pinkie and his men, but good timing. In order to cover their tracks, it’s necessary that Hale’s death appear to have taken place before 2 P.M. on that fateful day, and so Pinkie, having ordered the killing but not an active participant in the murder, spends much of the afternoon checking his watch and distrusting the clock on Brighton pier. Later, with Hale dead but Ida Arnold hot on his trail, Pinkie cannot shake the habit of obsessively checking the time. Spicer, likewise, has a preoccupation with the passing hours. He even shows Pinkie a cherished silver pocket watch as a last-ditch attempt to plea for his life. Both men, however, are doomed, and their obsession with the audible striking of the town clock betrays their creeping awareness that their time is almost up.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Clocks and Watches appears in Brighton Rock. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part I, Chapter 3